EWU volleyball earns bid to Big Sky tournament, sits at 9-3


Photo by Karissa Berg

Team celebrates after a point. Beating Montana state 3-2.

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

The Eagles split a pair of matches for the third straight weekend en route to clinching a spot in the Big Sky Volleyball Tournament with four matches still to play in the regular season. The Eagles fell to the Montana Grizzlies in four sets on Oct. 29 and defeated the Montana State Bobcats in five sets a day later.

The Eagles sit atop the North Division at 9-3 in league play, a game ahead of the second place Idaho Vandals. In the South Division, the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks sit in first place with an 11-1 record, a game ahead of the 10-2 Idaho State Bengals.

Final Score: University of Montana defeats Eastern Washington University, 29-27, 15-25, 25-21, 25-16.

What It Means: The Eagles dropped to 8-3 in the Big Sky on the season, their third loss in their last four matches. The Grizzlies improved to 3-8, with two of those wins coming against the first place Eagles.

Turning Point: With the match tied at 15 in the third set, the Grizzlies went on a 5-0 run to take a 20-15 lead, winning the set 25-21 and taking a two sets to one lead in the match. The Grizzlies dominated the following set 25-16, giving them their third conference win.

Key Statistics: The Eagles were out-blocked 21-9 in the match, with sophomore Chloe Weber finishing with a team-high three blocks. Freshman Jessica Gilbert led the Eagles with 12 kills and senior Ana Jakovljevic had a match-high three aces. The Grizzlies’ Hannah Sackett led all players with 16 kills.

Final Score: Eastern Washington University defeats Montana State University, 22-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13.

What It Means: The Eagles improved their record to 9-3 in the Big Sky, earning their first berth in the conference tournament in four seasons. The Bobcats dropped to 1-11 in conference play.

Turning Point: After going down 1-3 in the fifth and deciding set, the Eagles reeled off six straight points, going up 7-3. The Eagles held off the Bobcats’ charge, winning their first five-set match all season.

Key Statistics: Senior Allie Schumacher recorded a season and match-high 23 kills in the match, while senior Ryann Ensrud piled up 27 digs. The Eagles out-blocked the Bobcats 13-8 and out-killed them 71-62.

What’s Next: The Eagles’ last home match of the season is on Nov. 5 against the Lumberjacks, followed up by a road match in Moscow, Idaho on Nov. 7 against the Vandals. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.